Author's Note: A random one-shot. Sorry I've been gone so long. I've been reading through my older stuff and it's making me cringe. I don't think you'll see any updates for awhile as I'm trying to get motivated to go back and edit all my old pieces. So hang tight!
This fic is based off the 'Criminal Minds Weekly Prompts' forum. This fic was inspired by the song 'The Wish' by 'The Rascal Flatts.'
JJ hesitated, her blue eyes flickering over to Will. The lump in her throat seemed to grow larger with every tremble, and each breath.
"I know your heart's not fully here, JJ. I know. You don't have to pretend anymore," Will said, his voice cracking slightly as he watched the woman he loved so much tremble, overwhelmed by her emotions. "Your heart doesn't belong to me. And for a long time, I thought I could make you mine, completely, you know?"
Still, she didn't speak. It was true what he was saying, and she knew this. But it still hurt. She wasn't sure if she was hurting for him, for herself or for Henry... Perhaps even all three.
"No, don't say anything. You don't need to. There's only so much a man can do. It's been five years, JJ. If you don't love me now, you never will. What kind of man would I be if I held you back from what your heart really wanted? I'd rather not have you at all than only have a part of you."
Her hand shook when she reached out for him, and it stung when he pulled back.
"I don't want this to be any harder than this is," he told her gently, hating himself for the pain that appeared on her face when he withdrew from her.
His eyes drifted up the stairs to where Henry slept, peacefully in his room with no clue that in the morning his entire world would have shifted.
"I do still love you," Will whispered softly, his hand twitching as if he longed to reach out to her but he knew that he shouldn't.
"If you really loved me, you wouldn't be walking away," JJ said bitterly, averting her eyes to try and hide the tears that threatened to spill.
"And if you really loved me, you wouldn't be letting me," he responded, each word a silent stab at her heart.
The words stung but JJ knew it was true and with a shaky breath the tears finally began to fall.
"And JJ, I'm walking away because I love you." Will took a step back and he tried to ignore the tightness in his chest. He'd known for a long time that she'd never love him as much as he loved her but a small part of him had hoped he was wrong or that she would beg him to stay. As it was, it appeared neither of these things was going to happen and he was having a hard time keeping his hands steady.
"Because you love me?" she asked, her head still in a swirl. He was right, she knew it but why was it so hard? Was it worry for Henry? Was it the loss of something familiar? She knew she cared about him, but just not the way he needed or wanted. How could she not care when he fathered her child? But she knew it wasn't enough.
"What about? I mean there's things. And we have to, but then there's and do you?," JJ rambled off quickly and despite her words not making sense, Will didn't need to hear them to know what she was feeling or worrying about. It was written all over her face, and he'd been with her long enough to be able to figure that out in a heart beat.
"We can try and keep this clean, you know? Not messy. No custody battles, no lawyers. We can make arrangements. You're away a lot and Henry can stay with me while you're gone. I figure, you're gone enough it should come out about even and we can figure something out for the holidays." The more he spoke, the more he saw the panic begin to leave her face and he noticed her relax, the tension leaving her muscles. "And no, I don't regret my time with you. It will be hard but I figure, I lived many years without you, I can adjust. And I have an amazing son. How can I possibly regret that? How can I possibly regret any second I spent with you?"
Another tear fell down her cheek as she found herself unable to meet his eyes. But there was something else besides the pain, there was hope, and relief. She shut her eyes as she remembered a conversation she had with the person she knew her heart belonged to. Hotch. The heartbreak on his face when he found out about her pregnancy, the way he'd told her he'd be waiting for her to be ready. But right now? Will had just broken up with her, but it was why he had... She'd stayed with him, for Henry. A part of her did love him, she knew that. But it wasn't enough.
"You're right," she said, still not able to look up at him.
"Where do we go from here?" JJ asked, her voice cracking slightly.
"I have a friend that's told me I could stay with him," Will replied as he struggled to keep his voice steady. "My wish is for you to be happy."
The ticking of the clock above the fireplace suddenly became very loud to JJ as she swallowed what felt like a lemon in her throat. A part of her felt like she should argue, like it was the right thing to do but faced with her options right now, somehow she couldn't get the words out. She was barely aware of the final kiss he put on her forehead, and she hardly heard the door close behind him as he left with two bags of his stuff.
Numb, she collapsed on the couch, her trembling hands reached for her phone and if he hadn't arrived a few minutes later... She may have never known she called him.
The knock at the door went unanswered, and conflicting emotions were crushing her. Worried, he'd invited himself in and froze when he saw her lying on the couch, looking so fragile.
"JJ?" Hotch questioned, standing by unsure of what to do.
His voice forced its way into her mind and suddenly her eyes flew open. "Hotch," she said, the question in her voice worrying him the more.
"You called me." His face grew increasingly more confused and concerned.
"I did?" JJ asked. "I did!" Quite the opposite, the confusion was leaving her face as her feelings began to sort themselves out. "I'm ready."
"Ready? What do you mean?" He examined her face closely and he understood. He'd waited for her for so long. Many times he'd gone to move on, but a part of him had always waited and now that he was given a chance at least, it felt unreal. "Are you sure?" He asked this because while his heart soared, he had to know for certain.
For the first time that night, JJ smiled. "I've never been more sure." And it was true. For the first time in a long time, things felt right. "Are you ready?"
Hotch almost laughed, "I've been ready for a long time."
"I don't think rushing into anything would be wise, but I'm ready to take those beginning steps," she informed him, fighting the urge to run and hug him.
"One step at a time," Hotch agreed. "One step at a time."